Intern Diaries: Fashion is More Stressful Than Work

This morning I was dangerously close to missing my train into NYC for my internship. So late, in fact, that I had to sprint from my car, up the stairs, and onto the train platform to hurl myself through the train doors about a second before they closed behind me, leaving me panting and sweating in front of a group of polished businessmen. (Always a good way to start the day.) It wasn’t because I had pressed snooze one too many times, or because I had lost track of time. No, I was late because of something much more important:

I was searching for the perfect outfit.

I wish I could say this was the first time my fashion situation put me well behind schedule, but that wouldn’t even be close to true. It’s more like it happens about once a week, and on at least two occasions per month I actually DO miss my train. And this is because when it comes to my internship, almost nothing is more important than wearing something cute. Yes, I get more stressed about what I’m wearing than I do about the actual work and reporting I have to do.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m serious about doing a good job at work. But honestly, if I don’t like my outfit, I am a LOT less motivated to be at my internship. It may sound slightly pathetic to some people, but looking good really is extremely important when you work in one of the fashion capitals of the world, and that’s even more true when you work in the magazine industry. Magazines are usually more casual than your typical office, which is a nice perk, but also opens you up to endless wardrobe possibilities. My office is particularly casual, with editors wearing anything from tight dresses and sky-high heels to jeans and a sweatshirt. And while those options are nice to have, who really wants to wear a sweatshirt to work in NYC? I don’t, especially when practically every girl I see walk by me on Sixth Avenue looks like they’ve just stepped out of the pages of Vogue.

Every day on the train ride home, I have good intentions for the next day: get home, go through my closet, and pick out a cute outfit for a stress-free morning. But then I get home, and my bed looks so comfy, and I decide it can wait. So every morning, it’s the same thing: I wake up just a little bit too late and then spend at least 45 minutes frantically ripping through my drawers and closet, trying on about 20 different outfits and hating everything I put on. Should I wear jeans and flats with a cute shirt, or is it more of a sundress and sweater day? Do I go a little bit bohemian, or should I try looking more professional? Do I feel like attempting heels, or will flip-flops cut it? Not to mention the fact that despite the growing pile of wrinkled and discarded clothes on my floor, I. HAVE. NOTHING. TO. WEAR.

Don’t think the stress ends when I finally do choose an outfit. Once I have something I like, I have to find the right bag, the cutest jewelry, and the perfect shoes. And once I’m in the office, I still can’t relax, hoping I look okay and wondering if that editor is staring at me in disgust, or if she wants to know where I got my top. Am I too casual? Too dressed up? Does it look like I’m trying too hard?!

It’s consuming, stressful and somewhat ridiculous, but being a lowly intern, what else do I have to look forward to? If I’m going to be filing and fetching coffee all day, I might as well look good doing it. That is assuming I actually pick out my outfit and make it to work at all….

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